Outpost law advances despite Bibi’s warning
THE “REGULATION Law” passed its first Knesset reading on Monday, helping solve the coalition crisis but not preventing the planned eviction of the Amona settlement outpost by December 25.
The law, which is expected to be challenged in the High Court, is supposed to retroactively legalise settlements built in the West Bank on private Palestinian land.
However, in order to gain a majority, a clause legalising settlements already the subject of legal petitions, such as Amona, was dropped. The reading of the law passed 60-49 after centre-right party Kulanu agreed to support it once the clause was expunged.
The legislation went ahead despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning that it could prompt international pressure and even action in the International Criminal Court.
Last weekend, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel should wait until after the new US administration was installed in Washington Knesset protest by Amona residents before pushing though the legislation.
Mr Netanyahu was forced to allow the coalition to support the law due to threats from Jewish Home that it would leave the government over the eviction of the Amona outpost, scheduled to take place by December 25. Only one coalition member voted against — former Likud minister Benny Begin, who called the law “a moral travesty that legalises theft and leaves a stain on Israel”.
Ironically, while it may have averted a coalition crisis, not only will the “Regulation Law” not cover Amona, but it is likely to be ruled unconstitutional by the High Court.
Meanwhile, a government plan to relocate the Amona settlers to adjacent plots of land which were thought to be abandoned has also fallen through as it turns out that most of them are also privately owned by Palestinians.
The difficulty in working out an alternative plan for the Amona families will probably lead the government to request a last-minute delay from the High Court, but it is unlikely they will be successful, as the justices have made it clear that December 25 is the final deadline.
A senior military official warned this week that the eviction could “cause shockwaves” in the West Bank, which has largely been calm over the last eight months.